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Alibaba Pursues International Chinese Tourist Spending


Jun. 3 2019, Updated 10:48 a.m. ET

Chinese tourists to spend $21 billion on Thai visits in 2019

Alibaba (BABA) is continuing to pursue Chinese tourist spending on international tourism. Alibaba’s mobile payment platform, Alipay, and Thailand’s tourism agency last month agreed to work together to help lure more Chinese visitors to Thailand. According to a report by the Bangkok Post, Alipay and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (or TAT) will cooperate to help Chinese tourists to more easily access services at locations such as restaurants, theme parks, and hospitals in Thailand. The pact also involves Alipay and TAT working to simplify air travel for Chinese tourists visiting Thailand from Shanghai.

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Thailand is one of the top tourism destinations for Chinese tourists. Some 10.5 million Chinese people visited Thailand in 2018, spending $18.4 billion in the process, according to TAT estimates cited by Xinhua news agency. Chinese tourists to Thailand are projected to rise to 11.6 million in 2019, and the spending is forecast to increase to $20.8 billion.

Following international Chinese tourists

Alipay is the top mobile payment service in China with over a 54% market share, according to iResearch China. Alibaba is using this popularity to take Alipay overseas. Initially, Alibaba is using Alipay to handle payments for Chinese tourists in their international visits. Chinese people spend hundreds of billions of dollars yearly on international tourism. Alibaba is partnering with overseas businesses to adopt Alipay so Chinese visitors can pay with a service they are already familiar with when they travel abroad.

Alibaba’s revenue rose 51% YoY to $13.9 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, which ended in March. Revenue rose 16% YoY at Tencent (TCEHY) in the March quarter. Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay are the top mobile payment services in China. JD.com (JD), Amazon (AMZN), and eBay (EBAY) recorded revenue growth of 20.9%, 17%, and 2.0% YoY, respectively, in the first quarter.


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